There are 7.3 million Americans in some kind of governmental corrections program. That is not a typo.
That’s one out of every 31 of us. In fact, one out of every 100 Americans is incarcerated as I type this.
The United States has 5% of the world’s population, but 25% of the world’s prison population.
We spend over $60 billion each year building new prisons and maintaining the existing ones.
Tom Teepen of the Atlanta Journal Constitution writes:
To believe this is necessary, you have to believe that Americans are just, hands down, the worst people on Earth. Prison populations have continued to climb even as crime has been going down. One big factor has been the increased legislative resort to longer sentences for fad crimes, especially nonviolent ones like drug use or minor dealing. No legislator has ever lost re-election for sending more people to prison for longer periods.
Heaven help us.